In which we discover that Lance Berkman is not a monster

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already read my friend Craig Calcaterra’s account of his long phone conversation with Lance Berkman. If so, I’ll spare you the background; if not, here’s where you can get all caught up.

But it’s a long post for Craig, so I worry that more than a few readers didn’t quite make it all the way to the end. Which is the important part. So as a public service, Craig’s big finish:

Berkman is smart, well-spoken and he’s finishing up the final 12 credit hours of a kinesiology degree from Rice University this semester. He’s certainly no dummy. And given that he was equally adept at discussing the legal and procedural history of the Houston ordinance — a particularly controversial and sometimes sordid one, it should be noted — his opposition to it was not solely based on some fearful reaction to transgender persons.

–snip–

Believe me, I’m very sensitive to the arguments of my liberal friends who oppose such laws. They go like this: “just because they’ve never actually met any stereotypical mouth-breathing yokel conservatives like they’ve described doesn’t mean they don’t exist! The issue is, what to do about an actual mouth-breathing yokel who wants to use public facilities. Maybe he’s confused, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t want him out in public with the actually enlightened.”

Compelling, to be sure, but we just can’t assume the worst about people whose choices we don’t condone and whose identity we don’t understand. In that direction lies madness.

Well, yes. In a sense, yes. But it’s incredible just how many people are perfectly content, if not overjoyed, to assume the worst about people who feel and think differently than we feel and think.

Especially if they’re strangers.

Because let’s be honest. All of us know people who feel and think differently than we feel and think. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t speak for anyone but myself. But I’ve got reasonably close relatives who don’t think Bernie Sanders is nearly radical enough, and I’ve got reasonably close relatives who sincerely feel that Barack Hussein Obama is a committed, practicing Muslim. If not the long-awaited antichrist himself.

I’ve spent many fine hours with these relatives, and everyone in between. I’ll bet you have, too. You might not think and feel the same way as them. But you know your relatives, and so you recognize their humanity and when you think about them, you acknowledge your differences but also feel fondness, maybe even love.

So here’s my question for you, friends: Why not cultivate those same feelings about Lance Berkman and Torii Hunter, and others who might have expressed some thoughts and feelings you find disagreeable?

Actually, you probably know what I mean already. I spend too much time on Twitter. You’re probably the charitable sort, your better angels speaking up when you feel the urge to place yourself in one box and someone else in the other box. Because you figured out already that if you start putting everybody in box, one day you’ll wake up and find you’re in a little box all by yourself, and it’ll get awfully lonely in there.

If you have figured all that out, I’m jealous. Because I’m still working on it, every waking hour of every damned day.